Tag Archives: notebook
Another month, another session of Camp NaNoWriMo is over. While July 2016 left in a blur, I did manage to crank out another 50k words on a couple of newer stories.
(In hindsight, I should probably use Camp NaNo sessions to add words to my work in progresses, but my brain doesn’t work that way.)
My Camp project mostly consisted of the story that I’ve been throwing up here in parts on Sundays, the one that started with Neighborhood. Is anyone getting sick of that story yet? It really only had a vague plot to go along with the character ideas. I didn’t finish the story quite yet, so I may go back to random Sunday Scribbles soon enough.
Other words that I counted were those that I hand-wrote in my notebooks. There’s nothing more satisfying and bittersweet for a writer than a notebook filled up with your own scribbles (even better when they’re from your favorite kind of pen!). There were definitely enough times where the amount of words from my little notebook scenes would be enough to cover a couple of days’ word counts at a time.
Near the end of Camp, I literally just wrote small, fanfiction-y kind of stories, with a few new tidbits that could grow into larger works. It’s funny how NaNoWriMo is “supposed” to be spent writing one brand-new manuscript. I tend to use these sessions to just write with no abandon and see what kind of plot bunnies pop out of my mind.
I think that’s what works best for me.
I hope everyone else did well! Even if you didn’t meet your word count goals, I hope you were able to get enough down to be satisfied with your projects!
My latest pen ran out if ink this morning. It was a damn good pen, and I’m a little sad at its loss but it just reminds me how much writing I’ve been doing.
I have a slight problem when it comes to buying notebooks. I probably have about a dozen unfilled notebooks and journals in my room and office. I can’t help it. Some of them are so pretty!
With my newer job involving staring at a computer screen for about 8 hours, I’ve definitely been writing longhand more often. It’s not as quick as typing, but I think it’s fairly therapeutic as well.
A pen and notebook are comforting companions to a writer, allowing one’s thoughts to slow down with the speed of longhand writing. My word choices are better thought out and my eyes don’t get as strained as they would from spending more time staring at the computer screen. There’s also just something satisfying about finishing a notebook.
Oh, and that pen? It was fresh out of the package just a month ago. If that doesn’t tell me how much writing I’ve been doing, I don’t know what does!
Do you remember the first story you ever tried writing?
Many of us were probably young kids, maybe young enough to not know how to spell the majority of words in our native languages correctly, when we started to write. Our stories would be a page or two long, projects unfinished and forgotten when our attention spans latched onto something else that was shinier.
But what was the first story that you had consciously tried to finish?
Mine was fanfiction, which most of us probably started out writing. Seriously, who wouldn’t love to write a story for a universe or fandom to be sure that the story never ended? I started off with Legend of Zelda fanfiction. Being an avid gamer and wanting to explore more of that world and of my favorite characters who are not in every installment of that game series prompted me to try my hand at writing my own storyline.
I still have the notebook it was written in. The writing is horrendous. A silver lining regarding how bad it was is that I’ve greatly improved since then!
What about you? What had prompted you to start writing in the first place?
We’ll never know what happened to it.
The key was blackened, maybe from smoke, with many of the teeth half-melted and molded into each other. Everyone’s guess was that the key got caught in some sort of fire, but that was it. Just a guess. The key had been found in an open field of the old park, the old park that hadn’t had its grass mowed in years. Had something in that area centuries ago burned down, with the key, only to let nature take its course and allow grass and weeds to regrow in the same spot?
“Now that we got it, what do we do with it?” Robin asked. She always was the one to say what was on everyone’s minds.
“I’m so curious as to what this key opens up,” Jason said, marveling at the piece of junk. “Maybe if we do a bit of research, we can find out what used to be in that field.”
“Isn’t that where the witch burnings were?” Sarah asked. “It’s where they reenact the Salem Witch Trials every year around Halloween, anyway.”
“That’s right!” Jason said. “Maybe this was a key to some witch’s valuable treasure. The witches’ homes were looted, I assume, after they died.”
“Yeah, right.” I smirked and plucked the key out of Jason’s hand. “Maybe this is the key to the cupboard where the witch kept her favorite cauldron.”
“Or her book of spells,” Robin said.
“Or a vial of love potion.” Sarah giggled.
“Laugh all you want, girls,” Jason said easily, “but this could seriously be a great find. Imagine if this was to some ancient treasure. It may even fetch a decent price at a museum if it’s old enough.”
“Who would want to pay for this thing?” I asked, watching the metal bend slightly under the pressure of my hand.
Jason saved the old key from me breaking it in half. “I don’t know,” he said, shrugging. “But it’s still something I would like to look into.”
“You do that,” Robin said. “Meanwhile, us girls are going to see that new action movie. Jude Law looks hot in it!”
“You would think he’d look hot in a skirt,” Sarah teased.
“Didn’t he do that once?” I asked. “I believe the movie had robots in it…”
“I’m not needed in this conversation,” Jason said, shaking his head at our girl talk. “C’mon. I’ll give you all a ride to the theater. Thanks again for taking the time to come and help me with my summer project.”
As for the key, that was that, as far as I was concerned. I honestly forgot about the thing while cooing over Jude Law with Sarah and Robin. It wasn’t until a couple of months after the new school year started that Jason brought the key up again.
“So, I was thinking that the key really did have something do with the witch trials,” he said during lunch.
Sarah paused in taking a bite of her sandwich. “What key?” she asked.
“The key we found in the park last July,” Jason said patiently. Robin and I just nodded along. “Anyways, I did some research and found out that the old government, or whoever decided who was a witch, kept a notebook under lock and key, quite possibly our found key, of the so-called witches. Not only that, this notebook had not only suspected witches, but also people who may have been dangerous or annoying to the government in some way.”
“It was a little black book of enemies?” I asked, trying to clarify Jason’s explanation.
“More or less, yes,” Jason said. “It was a list of accused witches and those that could easily be gotten rid of by being accused as a witch.”
I rolled my eyes and chuckled. “These government clowns got rid of their enemies by claiming that they were witches? That was nice of them.”
“I thought so,” Jason said. “I was also thinking that maybe we could try finding this notebook.”
“That key was the only thing in that field,” Sarah said. “There was nothing around besides grass and dirt.”
“Besides, even if we did happen to find this notebook,” Robin said, “how would we open it? The key is useless.”
“I’m sure we could find a way,” Jason said.
I just continued eating my lunch. Little did I know, that Jason and his key would soon be the reasons why I would start a journey back through time. On the plus side, I was sure I could pass American history with my first-hand experiences.
Lately on Rachel’s blog, she’s been doing articles and essays about outlining and planning her novels. Her latest method is using colorful index cards to summarize plot points, scenes, characters, all those fun things that go into novels, and it works for her.
My planning process? Maybe I’ll free-write in a notebook all the questions and ideas that come with the novel currently brewing in my mind, but that’s usually the extent of my “planning.” Usually I plan as I write, and it is not uncommon for half of my drafts to feature random notes in brackets smack in the middle of scenes. Most of those notes have to do with questions like, “Wait, why are my characters doing this? What is the point of this? What in the name of all that is holy is going on?!”
My notes tend to be tedious ramblings to help me figure out what road my plot was going down and when it decided to veer off of that path. In a way, they resemble the “chapter summary” way to outline that Rachel detailed in her Outlining: Tips and Ideas post.
Have I tried to plan out more details of my novel before writing? Yes, a couple of times, but they didn’t work for me. I generally have a loose idea as to where and how the story is going to go, and then I just start writing. I love it when I’m writing a scene and one of my characters does that something that is surprising and brilliant (and, once in a while, stupid), or when my subconscious had foreshadowed an important plot point 50 pages ago without me knowing it. I don’t think you can get that same feeling, not the exact same, with planning. You can always take a detour from your plans and outlines, of course, and those with planned novels probably get more of them written faster than us “pantsers” (please note that the only statistic regarding that last statement is Rachel versus me).
I’ve found that, with my few drafts that I have, it’s easier to see what the novel is about and where it’s going after the draft is done. Then I can “plan” what should and shouldn’t happen, also known as the editing process to me.
To me, writing is exactly like the quote at the top of this post. I may not have the best sense of direction, especially while driving, but eventually I’ll get to where I need to be.
(Visit me at my other blog: Mini Pawprints)